Types of reasoning required in university exams in mathematics
2007 (English)In: Journal of Mathematical Behavior, ISSN 0732-3123, E-ISSN 1873-8028, Vol. 26, no 4, 348-370 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Empirical research shows that students often use reasoning founded on copying algorithms or recalling facts (imitative reasoning) when solving mathematical tasks. Research also indicate that a focus on this type of reasoning might weaken the students' understanding of the underlying mathematical concepts. It is therefore important to study the types of reasoning students have to perform in order to solve exam tasks and pass exams. The purpose of this study is to examine what types of reasoning students taking introductory calculus courses are required to perform. Tasks from 16 exams produced at four different Swedish universities were analyzed and sorted into task classes. The analysis resulted in several examples of tasks demanding different types of mathematical reasoning. The results also show that about 70% of the tasks were solvable by imitative reasoning and that 15 of the exams could be passed using only imitative reasoning.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 26, no 4, 348-370 p.
Mathematical reasoning, Algorithms, Creativity, Assessment, Tests, Calculus exams, University level mathematics
Research subject didactics of mathematics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-22719DOI: doi:10.1016/j.jmathb.2007.11.001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-22719DiVA: diva2:217719